Australian gamers concerned that recent elections and the relative silence of politicians on the issue, will be happy to hear that there is light at the end of the tunnel for the R18+ rating. According to News.com.au by way of Joystiq and Gamspot (thanks to Shoutboxer Cheater87 for the tips), Australia's federal cabinet has approved the R18+ rating. This means that games that might usually be banned from the Australian games market will now be available and will avoid having to be edited and then resubmitted for reclassification.
Games like the Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, F.E.A.R., and Left 4 Dead series would fall under this new rating. Those wanting to play these games would have to be age 18 or older to purchase them, of course. Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor will take the Government's new position to a meeting of state and territory attorneys-general later this week to seek approval in changing the system.
"Children and teenagers shouldn't be exposed to the gratuitous sex, violence and adult themes that are contained in some computer games," O'Connor told News.com.au. "Over time, we've allowed games to get into the hands of 15-year-olds that would not have been available in comparable countries; that should not have happened."
One caveat is that O'Connor "guaranteed" that he would not allow games banned in Australia to be approved for release under the new R18+ classification, if it is approved. According to the News.com.au report, changes to the classification system require agreement of all states and territories as well as the federal government.
How long it might take to make these changes is unknown, but at least an effort is finally being made to change the ratings system in a way that makes sense for parents who don't want their children playing games that aren't age appropriate - and for adults that want to be able to play the same games the rest of the world does.